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The Four Pillars of Acne

Posted by Rebekah McCabe on October 27, 2017 at 9:50 PM

 

Many people come to me wanting answers when it comes to acne breakout on skin. It doesn't seem to matter what age or what type of acne the person suffers from, they just want it gone. Often they want to know why this happening is.

There is a lot out there trying to explain and fix the issue of acne. Loads of tips and theories and sadly, most leave people feeling deflated and a bit frustrated. Whether you are experiencing pustule breakout that is just dying to be "popped" or red hard nodules and cysts, I have found that I like to boil the subject down to 4 main "Pillars" that create the perfect storm for acne to exist. When we know what those pillars are, we can address them directly, individually, and as a whole. So what are these 4 Pillars? Glad you asked.


Pillar 1: Over production of dead skin cells.

The medical name is hyper-keratosis. It's where your skin is not exfoliating fast enough. It means you will have a buildup of dead protein. Why is this important? When your pores and follicles are lined with dead skin cells, it mixes with sebum and makes a seed called a micro-comedone. That in turn clogs that pore or follicle leading to more trouble.

 

Pillar 2: Over production or an imbalance of Sebum (oil) production.

When our skin is out of balance in oil and hydration (water), it can cause all kinds of issues. If you have to much oil, it will mix with your dead skin cells, clog your pores then cause a breakout. If you are dehydrated, your pores will shrink and make it harder for impurities to come out of your pores. Worse yet, if you try to combat your oiliness with products that dry out your skin and dehydrate your skin, it will make your skin produce more oil trying to hydrate itself. This creates a horrible cycle and problem.

 

Pillar 3: Inflammation.

When your skin is irritated it creates heat in the form of inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s response to try to fight off sickness or infection. The problem is that it can also close off your follicle trapping oil and dead skin cells and bacteria in the pore, making the problem worse. Then when you attack your skin with heavy medicated products and harsh peels, your skin reacts. Just like that, you exasperate the problem.

 

Pillar 4: Bacteria

Our skin is a microbiome of activity. It's a balance of good and bad bacteria and a host of cellular activity. Our skin is also the largest organ of the body and is part of the excretory system that detoxifies our bodies and excretes toxins. When our skin bacteria is out of balance, it leaves room for p.acne and acne vulgaris bacteria to grow and start local infections, as in breakouts. Then when we are on anti-biotics, topically and internally, we may get an initial relief but it can also lead to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria creating a backlash effect and worse acne flare up.

 

So how do these 4 Pillars work together to make a breakout?? First your follicle is lined with too many dead skin cells. Then it mixes with sticky sebum (oil) and creates a seed (micro-comedone). That clogs the pore and starts irritating the follicle creating inflammation. The pore swells not allowing the toxins and debris to be released. A sugary gas emits and bacteria start to feed causing a local infection in your pore. White blood cells charge to the rescue and bam! You have white puss that fills your follicle. Sometimes it rises to the top and creates a pustule in the form of a yellow head. Sometimes the opening of the follicle is blocked and the debris stays stuck deep in the pore. That gets hot and swollen and a nodule forms. If the follicle ruptures, a cyst will form. Please note! DO NOT TRY TO POP ANY OF THESE AND YOU SHOULD NOT EXTRACT CYSTS!

Keeping these 4 pillars in mind is imperative when I try to find solutions to heal breakout and keep new ones at bay. Everyone has their own recipe or keys to unlock balanced, well-functioning skin. It's my job to help find that balance. Choosing products that address each of these pillars is the goal. We never want to exasperate any of these pillars. Doing so will only create more issues. Unfortunately, most over the counter products do just that. They may focus on one or two pillars but neglect or exasperate the others. Knowing this, will hopefully help you be better equipped on being a savvy shopper. Will this product cause more irritation? Will this product cause me to dry out, therefore cause more dead skin? Will this product kill my bacteria? Will this product hydrate my skin while not causing too much oil production? All these questions should be addressed when being presented with a product that offers miracles.

No matter what, the number one this we must always treat and stay away from is inflammation. It is the root of all evil when it comes to skin conditions. Let me help find the right recipe for you.

 

 



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1 Comment

Reply wilson
12:56 AM on February 1, 2018 
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